FACTCHECK: Viral post inaccurately describes the size of Wisconsin’s hunting population

FACTCHECK: Viral post inaccurately describes the size of Wisconsin’s hunting population

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A post shared on Facebook claims there are more than 600,000 hunters in Wisconsin, which would make it the eighth-largest army in the world.

Verdict: Misleading

The total number of hunters in the state is less than 500,000, which would make it the 15th-largest standing army in the world, not the eighth.

Fact Check:

The post alleges the total hunting population of Wisconsin, which is estimated to be around 600,000 hunters, makes it the eighth-largest army in the world. The state claims no one has been killed in the recent hunting season.

These claims are false. Nearly 495,000 hunters participated in Wisconsin’s 2021 hunting season, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), not 600,00. Among those, 445,808 hunters were state residents, while 48,941 non-residents were registered to participate in the 2021 hunting season, NSSF data shows.

The total of Wisconsin’s hunting population would make them the 15th-largest standing army, not eighth, according to data from the World Bank. According to data, the population will fall below other countries like Turkey and Iran, as shown in this post.

At least 12 incidents were recorded during the state’s hunting season in 2021 according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In one incident, a 65-year-old male was killed when he accidentally knocked over his firearm and it discharged, hitting him in the chest, according to the department. (RELATED : Do Pennsylvania hunters have to wear orange face masks while hunting? )

There have been several other hunting-related deaths in Pennsylvania. A Waupaca, Wisconsin man was killed Nov. 3, 2021 after he apparently fell out of his tree stand, according to WSAW7.

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The Facebook post claims that the combined hunting population from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and West Virginia would make them the biggest army in the world This claim, however, is inaccurate. Data from the Michigan DNR, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, would put the total number of hunters in those four states at around 1.9 million. Countries like India and China have larger armies, though it would be the world’s third-largest standing army, according to data from the World Bank.

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